Remodeling Tips

 Avoid changes and additions midstream

Quite often during the project you will see a way to improve your design after the construction has already started. Be careful! Homeowners often don’t understand the magnitude of time, cost, plan revisions and delays that even a “small” change can cause. Proceed with caution and always discuss any ideas you have with your contractor. Remember that the later in the project you make a change, the higher the cost of the modification. If you feel a change must be made expect it to cost more than you estimate. Furthermore, you will be asked to pay at the time of the change, not at the end of the job. This is fair.

Expect some delays

Unexpected delays will always come from many sources. Some are due to the suppliers, when for example the model you want is out of stock, the delivery of your prepaid order is delayed, etc. Other delays occur because of changes or additions due to unforeseeable issues during construction. Sometimes plans need to be re-drawn and some of the completed construction must be taken out. Subcontractors are another source of unforeseen delays. We have experience dealing with issues and we always openly communicate with homeowner to handle all issues as expeditiously as possible.

Don’t panic when something is not happening

Construction process requires a solid plan and total discipline to be efficient. Your licensed contractor has the education and experience to perform each task in the most efficient and productive order. If you don’t see some items done right away, it is usually because there is a preferred order to them. However, it also may be just a simple oversight. Review the items of concern with your contractor and jointly verify that the plans show what you want, including complete detailed specifications. Confirm the installation schedule for the items you believe are not being handled and trust that your contractor is doing his best to stay on schedule.

Don’t be shocked by inaccurate or incorrect plans

Some corrections to final plans may be needed after the plans are approved and permit is issued, especially when you are remodeling or making additions. The only perfect set of plans is in Heaven. Each party, including you, the contractor and the crew will view the plans from slightly different perspective, and use them at different levels. The solution to any problem is to discuss all issues with your architect or designer and your contractor in a constructive way, with confidence that any difficulties can and will be solved. Good communication throughout all stages of the project is the most productive way to resolve these problems.

Be prepared to tolerate noise and mess

During remodeling the “mobile factory” in your home creates a lot of commotion, noise, dust, trash and large amounts of construction refuse. Some phases of the construction, addition or remodel generate more waste than others. In addition all workers usually eat and drink on site. We clean up the site at the end of each day to maintain a safe working environment. We do our best to minimize the impact of the construction activities on your life, and we hope you understand we are not always perfect.

Problem? Talk with your contractor!

Your contractor selected professional craftsmen who are likely to be doing everything according to the plans. If you think something is not proceeding the way you like it or correctly, contact the contractor directly about what you think is wrong. Craftsmen get their instructions from the contractor, so don’t confuse the communication lines. Give all instructions in writing to the contractor and keep a signed copy of all of your requests – it will eliminate any misunderstandings.

Be aware work may not match the estimate

Cost and time to do certain repairs or additions are notoriously hard to estimate: framing structural repairs, roofing structural repairs, water line repairs, new wiring and gas pipes for larger appliances, hardware, wallpaper, lights, countertops, tile work or glass work, cabinets, trim features, etc.. During remodel and additions some details can only be accurately determined during the actual work. We are human and don’t have an MRI vision, so until we open up the areas to be repaired we can only use our past experience to provide our best conservative “guesstimate”. Be aware there are unknown issues and research your options for handling the unforeseen issues. Your contractor will discuss available options to fix problems that were not visible before construction started. Changing your mind always costs extra money, and the later you make changes the greater the added cost.

Never give work orders directly to any craftsmen!

Specifically, never instruct any craftsmen to do something right away, or in certain order! Always talk first to your contractor about anything you want done. The craftsmen take their orders from the contractor since they follow his master schedule. Your input may be valid and helpful, but please keep it in the proper channel and always talk to the contractor and make sure everything is in writing!

Don’t assume it will be a nightmare

Occasionally a homeowner takes the attitude that a bad experience during the project is unavoidable. Such assumption doesn’t help any of the parties. If you are leery about the contractor, the financial burden, the plans, or the whole  project, don’t start until you get a higher comfort level. Live with your plans for a while; consider building a scaled down model of the finished project and select the most experienced, educated and knowledgeable contractor – never the cheapest! 

Stay positive and work with your contractor

Your contractor’s goal is to make sure all of your dreams come true. Many issues can be resolved by showing support and understanding to the problems your contractor handles on a daily basis. Materials may be defective, parts may be wrong, delivered late, missing or broken, or not fit properly, unforeseen problems may arise requiring additional time and effort, and sometimes the charges to the original plan may need to be made – all of which may result in added costs and time. Your contractor has the knowledge and experience to handle all of this. Don’t assume that a failure is unavoidable. Such assumption doesn’t help any of the participants. Stay positive and work with your contractor to get the job done the way you planned!



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